Something my mother said to me about a month ago has been needling me off and on. I was snuggling Carolyn and sing-songing her name while she cooed and smiled up at me. My mother, watching me, said, “Can you imagine? Yaya’s mother probably said the same things to her.”
Now, let me give you some background: Yaya was my mother’s mother. She passed away when I was six years old. She was my best friend, and her name was Carolyn- hence my daughter’s name.
There is a profound sadness in imagining Yaya’s mother rocking her daughter, calling her Carolyn, just as I do now with my daughter. Yaya’s mother, who died when Yaya was sixteen, admiring her beloved daughter, who would one day lose a painful battle with colon cancer. Death, the claimer of all things at the end of their time, essentially eliminating one of the most powerful forces in the universe: a mother’s love for her child. It drove home the reality that someday my children will die.
I know that this is such a morbid thread of thought. Of course I celebrate my children’s lives each and every minute of the day, and be present with them, and focus my energies and attentions on positive thinking…but there’s always that whisper in the back of my mind.
Renee tells me that I have an incredible awareness of both myself and the world around me. I think that awareness comes at a cost- not only am I totally aware of how what I say and do will affect virtually everyone and everything around me, I am also aware of all of those dark little twists in life. The ones that no one talks about. I know that my children will die, and I can’t help but think about it (especially when I am supposed to be writing an article for the school newspaper. Avoidance, much?).
The biggest change that I experienced after having children was the sudden realization that my life was not as important as the lives of my two children. An old friend asked me if I would die for Jack and Carolyn, and I didn’t even think twice- absolutely, I would. Like most mothers, I would give anything to ensure that my children were safe and happy and alive. Therein lies the steak that is twisting into my heart- I can’t put a stopper on death. I cannot give my children eternal life.
I suppose that this is one of those perspective adjustments that will come with age and further life experience and spiritual study. The point of living is not to extend it into forever, but rather to take the years we are allotted and pack them full of LIFE. This is what I hope to teach my children to do. I haven’t yet settled on an exact belief in terms of where we go- if asked right now, I say, “beyond.” I hope that as I continue to grow and learn, I will be offered some clarity- a solid faith that I can pass on to my children.
Honestly, I could care less where we end up- as long as it’s together.